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Adding instructions and playstyle to shapes & roles - building my 4-3-3 | Help welcomed


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Hello,

It's me again (faint Adele noises)

As an old fart with his FM glory days solidly placed in the pre 10's era (RIP FM07 and FM09), the newer editions have somewhat been a conondrum for me. Ever since the introduction of roles, I could never really make things work. The descriptions compared to what plays out in game always confounds me, just like the match engine in general tends to make me get hung up on mechanical flaws rather than what is actually working. That, and me being an old dog struggling to learn new tricks, has made every edition of FM since a constant stressant - man simply cannot figure this out. 

I've researched repeatedly, looked at IRL analysis of how football 'supposedly' is played, looked at guides, youtubers and read threads in here. Followed staple advice, tried to ignore advice. The whole lot. Sadly, I'm still writing this thread and the abundance of information available seemingly hasn't stuck. Therefor, I've decided to take a new route to figure out and learn how to approach building a tactic/system in FM. Combining some core principles of football with some staples of Guardiola and a brilliant article written on Chelseas systemic approach (that was on here recently, but I can't find the link), I set a goal:

1) Divide the pitch into 5 vertical zones
2) Choose a formation based on our best players
3) Evaluate and tweak said formation according to the level of our team as a whole
4) Assign roles that emphasize our star players 
5) Assign roles around that to ensure that all 5 vertical zones are covered when going forward. 

Simple, right? Let's do this. 
Some key information: 
- I manage AFC Fylde. 
- It's september in the 2028/2029 season
- We're in the Championship, third season. 
- Finished 6th after overperforming last season, despite changing tactics every 6-8 games. Position was inflated due the league as a whole underperforming, with the 1st place winning the league with a measly 85 points in 46 games. 
- Predicted 20th due to our terrible reputation. 
- Player quality wise, I think we should be comfortably mid table. 8th-12th place. 

Top players

3b2dab363c6bcf506de2ee85b4bdec00.png

Right off the bat, our two best players are a central defender and a right back that can also player centre midfield. After that, we have defensive midfielder that excels as a halfback, a centre midfielder that excels as a Mezzala, a left winger that wants to cut inside, a Striker that favors Advanced Forward, a Right Winger that suits Defensive Winger, a flexible central midfielder that suits Playmaking and a more roaming, deep lying Striker. 

My key take aways: 

1) No reason to play with an AMC; that position is usually reserved for a star player
2) With three of our best players being a CD, DM and a right back, we should have the foundation of strong defense.
3) We have 2 good striking options. Despite having very different 'Best Role's, they are both versatile and work well in 'eachothers' roles. 
4) We have two good wingers that vary in roles; one preferring to cut in and attack, and one that prefers to stay wide and work hard defensively. 
5) Our star right back is also a centre midfielder; this could potentially be a great Inverted Wingback. 
6) We have 2 good centre fielders that prefer complimentary roles; one playmaker and one runner. 

More specific takeaways: 

a) Our star central defender is also proficient on the ball, especially for the level of the competition. Could be wort playing as a Ball Playing Defender
b) Our left winger has a real nose for goal, despite his attributes suggestion otherwise. 22 goals in 42 matches and 13 goals in 42 matches in the past 2 seasons from the left wing. 
c) Our strikers lack reliable aerial threat. Our only real threat in the box is our left winger on the back post, boasting a solid 15 Jumping Reach (though only 8 in heading). 
d) We have a multitude of excellent passers at the club. Our 4 main central midfielders  and DMs all have 14+ in passing, and ignoring our DM 13+ in vision and anticipation. 
e) Outside of our 2 strikers, the left winger and our backup right winger, we lack great ball carriers. The others are either good dribblers, but slow, or quick but bad dribblers. 
f) Luckily, most - if not all - of our supporting and attacking players are good or great off the ball and have good or great anticipation (we're talking 12 and up). We should probably prioritize playing onto moving players instead of having players move with the ball (outside the ones that excel at dribbling). 

Okay, enough text - what about the system? 

15abed84a6b99d43d3b6fc8e74aae954.png

The roles are chosen...

... based on where I expect them to position when attacking, and what space they will attack and occupy. Allow me to demonstrate what I'm trying to achieve: 

a90840908572c3ca9f8b30a8fbd443f7.png

 

HOPEFULLY! 

Hopefully this setup will allow my team to assume a 2-3-5 shape in attack, addressing all 5 vertical zones of attack. While still maintaining cover defensively for the immediate counter ball. I have some considerations though; 

1) Is BBM the right role for the left CM? We don't really have an excellent BBM type player. Our Mezzala-type player will take up the CMa role, which leaves our other CM to the left side. He prefers DLP, and I worry that a DLP will be too static in this setup. 
2) Right winger on support. Will he offer enough movement for the right hand side to be a real threat? I worry that changing him to a Wa will isolate him and leave too much space behind, especially considering he is a Defensive Winger at heart and should excel in a more supportive role. 
3) The DM. My gut feeling is that DMd is the right move, as DMs would likely get in the way of the IWBs. On the flip side, I worry that DMd will be too conservative. Thoughts? 
4) The IWBs. The player I have for this role is perfectly suited to morph into a CM position. How to get the most out of the role, though, and what should I expect? 
5) The striker. I'm worried that a DLFs will leave us lacking penetration. On the flip side, I suspect an AF will make him too isolated. Is DLFa the perfect middle ground? 

NOW FOR THE FUN PART - THE POINT OF THE THREAD: 

This is where I'm stuck, proverbially speaking. Adding Team Instructions. 

Often you read that you should decide on a style that you want to achieve, so you have a goal. Thing is, I'm a pragmatist. I don't think one style is more superior than another. The style that makes you win the game is ultimately the best, meaning that it can change from game to game. However, that does imply that you need to establish some ground rules, ie. what can your players actually do and what can they not do. Here are my assumptions: 

We can: 
1)
Pass the ball. We have a plethora of good passers. A central defender, several central midfielders and even both strikers are good or great passers. 
2) Move off the ball. High OTB and Anticipation in most supporting and attacking players. 
3) Both of these things are emphasized by a high average Teamwork rating, with almost all my players being 11+. 
4) Run. Our fullbacks, wingers and strikers are all above average or rapid pace wise. 
5) Defend our own half with pressing and tackling. Our defenders and midfielders all possess good or great tackling, marking, acceleration, positioning, aggression and/or bravery. 

We can not: 
1) Jump. Outside of my left winger and defenders, we do not possess any serious aerial threat. The ball needs to be kept on the ground. 
2) Dribble. Outside of our 2 strikers and our left winger, we lack proficient dribblers. 
3) Press high. Despite generally having good or great work rate on our players, we seriously lack aggression in our front players. Only 2 players that play further up than DM have above 10 in Aggression. Same goes for Bravery. 
4) Defend crosses on the back post. This seems to me more of a Match Engine fault than anything, but crosses on the back post are just... undefendable. 

Based off of this, I surmise the following: 

- Play out of defense. We want to avoid long balls as we lose the aerial duels 9/10 times. We also have a good BPD. 
- Regroup. We do not have the players to counter press or even press high and hard. 
- Pass into space. We have good passers and good runners off the ball, and lack dribblers. 
- High tempo. Due to the quality of our passers, we should be able to pass the ball around quickly. 
- Dribble less. We lack dribblers. We can specificly ask those capable to dribble if their roles aren't already hard coded. 
- Low crosses. We lack significant aerial threat in the box. 
- Lower line of engagement. Our tackling and pressing capabilities are non existant further up. We should compress space and enable our capable defenders. 
- Tight marking and Get Stuck In. Since we are compressing space, we want to make it really hard to move inside of it. 
- Mentality: Balanced. I think the instructions and roles are already informing our players to do what they should. REALLY unsure here. 

Version 1 of this system, for testing: 

bcd7b7665ac5384d930092ab489d65c6.png

CLOSING WORDS FOR NOW

I have little to no idea how this is gonna play out. I suspect that the BBM needs changing to a different role and that the CMa might need PIs to function the way I want it to. Any and all suggestions, thoughts and ideas are welcome here. I'd be happy to share the save file or upload screenshots of any and all things you might have quesitons about.

Cheers!

Edited by Christopher S
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You’re left side looks very vulnerable. Wing back and IFa on attack and your  BBM has roam from position.

I would try a DLFs (this will link up nicely with your CMa) then keep IFa, change WB to support and maybe the BBM to a DLPs, the DLP has hold position so providing you’ve got the right player there it should cover your left flank better?

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13 minutes ago, Sarriball14 said:

You’re left side looks very vulnerable. Wing back and IFa on attack and your  BBM has roam from position.

I would try a DLFs (this will link up nicely with your CMa) then keep IFa, change WB to support and maybe the BBM to a DLPs, the DLP has hold position so providing you’ve got the right player there it should cover your left flank better?

I posted the thread accidentally too early, but the BBM thing is something I am aware of as you'll see in the finished thread Opening Post. I worry that the DLP is too static, almost, but I also think it makes a lot of sense as he will be more defensively solid. 

As for the IFa + WBa: 
I initially thought to put the IFa on IFs but that wouldn't offer the necessary penetration. As for IFa + WBs, I worry that the WBs won't fully commit to being a wide player, meaning our attacking space is compressed to an effective 4 zones instead of 5 (see the image in the OP). For the IF to be effective, someone needs to drag their right back out wide. What are your experiences here? 

Overall, feel free to read through the OP again now that I've actually finished it. Sorry for posting too early, was a misclick. :)

Edited by Christopher S
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10 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

I posted the thread accidentally too early, but the BBM thing is something I am aware of as you'll see in the finished thread Opening Post. I worry that the DLP is too static, almost, but I also think it makes a lot of sense as he will be more defensively solid. 

As for the IFa + WBa: 
I initially thought to put the IFa on IFs but that wouldn't offer the necessary penetration. As for IFa + WBs, I worry that the WBs won't fully commit to being a wide player, meaning our attacking space is compressed to an effective 4 zones instead of 5 (see the image in the OP). For the IF to be effective, someone needs to drag their right back out wide. What are your experiences here? 

Overall, feel free to read through the OP again now that I've actually finished it. Sorry for posting too early, was a misclick. :)

You could try the LCM as a CMs with added PIs?

As for the WB, that could depend on the actual player playing there. What PPMs does he have? Does he have ‘gets further forward PPM? You could try the overlap left team instruction?

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1 minute ago, Sarriball14 said:

You could try the LCM as a CMs with added PIs?

As for the WB, that could depend on the actual player playing there. What PPMs does he have? Does he have ‘gets further forward PPM? You could try the overlap left team instruction?

7b2f19839f5e06257f33c8d2340f404f.png

He does have Gets Forward Whenever Possible, so I suppose WBs might be enough still. 

I was considering overlap as it will also tamper the IFa's mentality a tad, keeping him closer to the CM behind him. I am a bit worried it will lead to our team ignoring my AMLs runs in behind in favor of looking for the overlaps though. I'll try it and see what happens. 

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1 minute ago, Christopher S said:

7b2f19839f5e06257f33c8d2340f404f.png

He does have Gets Forward Whenever Possible, so I suppose WBs might be enough still. 

I was considering overlap as it will also tamper the IFa's mentality a tad, keeping him closer to the CM behind him. I am a bit worried it will lead to our team ignoring my AMLs runs in behind in favor of looking for the overlaps though. I'll try it and see what happens. 

All you can do is try these things out and see what happens, the DLP on paper looks like it will work nicely, should provide defensive cover, hold position helping you with the shape you are looking for defensively and will link up Nicely with WBs and the IFa. 

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51 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Hello,

It's me again (faint Adele noises)

As an old fart with his FM glory days solidly placed in the pre 10's era (RIP FM07 and FM09), the newer editions have somewhat been a conondrum for me. Ever since the introduction of roles, I could never really make things work. The descriptions compared to what plays out in game always confounds me, just like the match engine in general tends to make me get hung up on mechanical flaws rather than what is actually working. That, and me being an old dog struggling to learn new tricks, has made every edition of FM since a constant stressant - man simply cannot figure this out. 

I've researched repeatedly, looked at IRL analysis of how football 'supposedly' is played, looked at guides, youtubers and read threads in here. Followed staple advice, tried to ignore advice. The whole lot. Sadly, I'm still writing this thread and the abundance of information available seemingly hasn't stuck. Therefor, I've decided to take a new route to figure out and learn how to approach building a tactic/system in FM. Combining some core principles of football with some staples of Guardiola and a brilliant article written on Chelseas systemic approach (that was on here recently, but I can't find the link), I set a goal:

1) Divide the pitch into 5 vertical zones
2) Choose a formation based on our best players
3) Evaluate and tweak said formation according to the level of our team as a whole
4) Assign roles that emphasize our star players 
5) Assign roles around that to ensure that all 5 vertical zones are covered when going forward. 

Simple, right? Let's do this. 
Some key information: 
- I manage AFC Fylde. 
- It's september in the 2028/2029 season
- We're in the Championship, third season. 
- Finished 6th after overperforming last season, despite changing tactics every 6-8 games. Position was inflated due the league as a whole underperforming, with the 1st place winning the league with a measly 85 points in 46 games. 
- Predicted 20th due to our terrible reputation. 
- Player quality wise, I think we should be comfortably mid table. 8th-12th place. 

Top players

3b2dab363c6bcf506de2ee85b4bdec00.png

Right off the bat, our two best players are a central defender and a right back that can also player centre midfield. After that, we have defensive midfielder that excels as a halfback, a centre midfielder that excels as a Mezzala, a left winger that wants to cut inside, a Striker that favors Advanced Forward, a Right Winger that suits Defensive Winger, a flexible central midfielder that suits Playmaking and a more roaming, deep lying Striker. 

My key take aways: 

1) No reason to play with an AMC; that position is usually reserved for a star player
2) With three of our best players being a CD, DM and a right back, we should have the foundation of strong defense.
3) We have 2 good striking options. Despite having very different 'Best Role's, they are both versatile and work well in 'eachothers' roles. 
4) We have two good wingers that vary in roles; one preferring to cut in and attack, and one that prefers to stay wide and work hard defensively. 
5) Our star right back is also a centre midfielder; this could potentially be a great Inverted Wingback. 
6) We have 2 good centre fielders that prefer complimentary roles; one playmaker and one runner. 

More specific takeaways: 

a) Our star central defender is also proficient on the ball, especially for the level of the competition. Could be wort playing as a Ball Playing Defender
b) Our left winger has a real nose for goal, despite his attributes suggestion otherwise. 22 goals in 42 matches and 13 goals in 42 matches in the past 2 seasons from the left wing. 
c) Our strikers lack reliable aerial threat. Our only real threat in the box is our left winger on the back post, boasting a solid 15 Jumping Reach (though only 8 in heading). 
d) We have a multitude of excellent passers at the club. Our 4 main central midfielders  and DMs all have 14+ in passing, and ignoring our DM 13+ in vision and anticipation. 
e) Outside of our 2 strikers, the left winger and our backup right winger, we lack great ball carriers. The others are either good dribblers, but slow, or quick but bad dribblers. 
f) Luckily, most - if not all - of our supporting and attacking players are good or great off the ball and have good or great anticipation (we're talking 12 and up). We should probably prioritize playing onto moving players instead of having players move with the ball (outside the ones that excel at dribbling). 

Okay, enough text - what about the system? 

15abed84a6b99d43d3b6fc8e74aae954.png

The roles are chosen...

... based on where I expect them to position when attacking, and what space they will attack and occupy. Allow me to demonstrate what I'm trying to achieve: 

a90840908572c3ca9f8b30a8fbd443f7.png

 

HOPEFULLY! 

Hopefully this setup will allow my team to assume a 2-3-5 shape in attack, addressing all 5 vertical zones of attack. While still maintaining cover defensively for the immediate counter ball. I have some considerations though; 

1) Is BBM the right role for the left CM? We don't really have an excellent BBM type player. Our Mezzala-type player will take up the CMa role, which leaves our other CM to the left side. He prefers DLP, and I worry that a DLP will be too static in this setup. 
2) Right winger on support. Will he offer enough movement for the right hand side to be a real threat? I worry that changing him to a Wa will isolate him and leave too much space behind, especially considering he is a Defensive Winger at heart and should excel in a more supportive role. 
3) The DM. My gut feeling is that DMd is the right move, as DMs would likely get in the way of the IWBs. On the flip side, I worry that DMd will be too conservative. Thoughts? 
4) The IWBs. The player I have for this role is perfectly suited to morph into a CM position. How to get the most out of the role, though, and what should I expect? 
5) The striker. I'm worried that a DLFs will leave us lacking penetration. On the flip side, I suspect an AF will make him too isolated. Is DLFa the perfect middle ground? 

NOW FOR THE FUN PART - THE POINT OF THE THREAD: 

This is where I'm stuck, proverbially speaking. Adding Team Instructions. 

Often you read that you should decide on a style that you want to achieve, so you have a goal. Thing is, I'm a pragmatist. I don't think one style is more superior than another. The style that makes you win the game is ultimately the best, meaning that it can change from game to game. However, that does imply that you need to establish some ground rules, ie. what can your players actually do and what can they not do. Here are my assumptions: 

We can: 
1)
Pass the ball. We have a plethora of good passers. A central defender, several central midfielders and even both strikers are good or great passers. 
2) Move off the ball. High OTB and Anticipation in most supporting and attacking players. 
3) Both of these things are emphasized by a high average Teamwork rating, with almost all my players being 11+. 
4) Run. Our fullbacks, wingers and strikers are all above average or rapid pace wise. 
5) Defend our own half with pressing and tackling. Our defenders and midfielders all possess good or great tackling, marking, acceleration, positioning, aggression and/or bravery. 

We can not: 
1) Jump. Outside of my left winger and defenders, we do not possess any serious aerial threat. The ball needs to be kept on the ground. 
2) Dribble. Outside of our 2 strikers and our left winger, we lack proficient dribblers. 
3) Press high. Despite generally having good or great work rate on our players, we seriously lack aggression in our front players. Only 2 players that play further up than DM have above 10 in Aggression. Same goes for Bravery. 
4) Defend crosses on the back post. This seems to me more of a Match Engine fault than anything, but crosses on the back post are just... undefendable. 

Based off of this, I surmise the following: 

- Play out of defense. We want to avoid long balls as we lose the aerial duels 9/10 times. We also have a good BPD. 
- Regroup. We do not have the players to counter press or even press high and hard. 
- Pass into space. We have good passers and good runners off the ball, and lack dribblers. 
- High tempo. Due to the quality of our passers, we should be able to pass the ball around quickly. 
- Dribble less. We lack dribblers. We can specificly ask those capable to dribble if their roles aren't already hard coded. 
- Low crosses. We lack significant aerial threat in the box. 
- Lower line of engagement. Our tackling and pressing capabilities are non existant further up. We should compress space and enable our capable defenders. 
- Tight marking and Get Stuck In. Since we are compressing space, we want to make it really hard to move inside of it. 
- Mentality: Balanced. I think the instructions and roles are already informing our players to do what they should. REALLY unsure here. 

Version 1 of this system, for testing: 

bcd7b7665ac5384d930092ab489d65c6.png

CLOSING WORDS FOR NOW

I have little to no idea how this is gonna play out. I suspect that the BBM needs changing to a different role and that the CMa might need PIs to function the way I want it to. Any and all suggestions, thoughts and ideas are welcome here. I'd be happy to share the save file or upload screenshots of any and all things you might have quesitons about.

Cheers!

You are not too far off but I think you can consider these:

1)IFA DLFA is not a bad combo when combined with CMA but I sometimes find DLFA too deep so IFA might have to deal with more than one player while trying to skin past his marker. If you have a player for CFA, he's sometimes going to pin back CBs to create some space for IFA to move into or come deep and hopefully take his marker with him and again open up some space for him to operate in the way you want.

2) CMA will not consistently attack the right halfspace especially a left-footed player though he's going to get into penalty area and be a distraction and score some goals occasionally but try a MEZA. It's great role to open up defences, especially one with the traits of Get Into Opp Area, Runs with Ball Often and Shoots with Power.

3)Your left side is risky defensively. Your LB will need some cover there. So a holding midfielder may be what you are looking for.

4) If your team is bad at dealing with crosses you may need to increase DL and LOE by a notch to try to get the ball before they reach wide areas.

5) Dribble Less is useful for cautious sides and I'd watch this one out carefully in full highlights.

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2 minutes ago, frukox said:

You are not too far off but I think you can consider these:

1)IFA DLFA is not a bad combo when combined with CMA but I sometimes find DLFA too deep so IFA might have to deal with more than one player while trying to skin past his marker. If you have a player for CFA, he's sometimes going to pin back CBs to create some space for IFA to move into or come deep and hopefully take his marker with him and again open up some space for him to operate in the way you want.

2) CMA will not consistently attack the right halfspace especially a left-footed player though he's going to get into penalty area and be a distraction and score some goals occasionally but try a MEZA. It's great role to open up defences, especially one with the traits of Get Into Opp Area, Runs with Ball Often and Shoots with Power.

3)Your left side is risky defensively. Your LB will need some cover there. So a holding midfielder may be what you are looking for.

4) If your team is bad at dealing with crosses you may need to increase DL and LOE by a notch to try to get the ball before they reach wide areas.

5) Dribble Less is useful for cautious sides and I'd watch this one out carefully in full highlights.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions!

1) I don't think I can really use a Complete Forward, unless the star rating for role suitability is all scuffed. Both my strikers get a measly 1 star rating for Complete Forward, despite most of the highlighted attributes being good (relative to the level of play). Most noticeably it's the lack of Work Rate, Strength and Jumping for my most well rounded striker, but I also suspect he's just not good enough ability wise. This is his attributes, with Complete Forward selected: 

b9f172c28561789a6b555d37ed868b95.png

 

2) I initially planned on using a Mezzala, but I've recently read/heard that they essentially don't defend at all and that worries me a lot. Should I be that worried? I love Mezzalas, and I think they are stylistically the right fit here but if it means my team starts suffering defensively I might be in deep trouble. 

3) Yeah, as previously mentioned, DLPs is a in for a shout as a replacement role here. 

4) I'd say it's less my team (all my defenders are strong, have good jumping, positioning, bravery and marking), and more of a Match Engine thing. Back post crosses especially are rampant, both for and against. I score most of my goals on back post crosses, and conced most of my goals that way, regardless of system and instructions. I could be wrong of course, but it doesn't seem like I'm the only one. I'll moving the team up a bit, and see what happens. I don't really want to rely on my front 4/5 for defending here, though, as they've all got wack aggression and average work rate. 

5) Anything in specific I should watch for? My reasoning for the instruction is in the OP. Is it better to use PIs for this? 

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12 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Thanks a lot for the suggestions!

1) I don't think I can really use a Complete Forward, unless the star rating for role suitability is all scuffed. Both my strikers get a measly 1 star rating for Complete Forward, despite most of the highlighted attributes being good (relative to the level of play). Most noticeably it's the lack of Work Rate, Strength and Jumping for my most well rounded striker, but I also suspect he's just not good enough ability wise. This is his attributes, with Complete Forward selected: 

b9f172c28561789a6b555d37ed868b95.png

 

2) I initially planned on using a Mezzala, but I've recently read/heard that they essentially don't defend at all and that worries me a lot. Should I be that worried? I love Mezzalas, and I think they are stylistically the right fit here but if it means my team starts suffering defensively I might be in deep trouble. 

3) Yeah, as previously mentioned, DLPs is a in for a shout as a replacement role here. 

4) I'd say it's less my team (all my defenders are strong, have good jumping, positioning, bravery and marking), and more of a Match Engine thing. Back post crosses especially are rampant, both for and against. I score most of my goals on back post crosses, and conced most of my goals that way, regardless of system and instructions. I could be wrong of course, but it doesn't seem like I'm the only one. I'll moving the team up a bit, and see what happens. I don't really want to rely on my front 4/5 for defending here, though, as they've all got wack aggression and average work rate. 

5) Anything in specific I should watch for? My reasoning for the instruction is in the OP. Is it better to use PIs for this? 

1)Despite his low strength and terrible jumping, he has good balance, first touch and composure. I think he can keep the ball well as long as you keep them coming to his feet rather than his head. His low work rate might be an issue but he is not that bad at moving off the ball or dribbling with it. 

2) If he has good work rate, acceleration, etc, he can track back consistently and safely in the knowledge that he has enough cover behind him. In this case a proper IWB, DLPS and a good DMD can make this work.

3) Give it a shot and report back please!

4) What about anticipation? It's really important for all of your players.

 Then, you can try moving your AMs back to WM strata to make them track back more or ordering them to mark opponent's full back position.

5) When you feel you lack penetration in matches, consider removing it or as you said instruct players individually. 

 

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1 minute ago, frukox said:

1)Despite his low strength and terrible jumping, he has good balance, first touch and composure. I think he can keep the ball well as long as you keep them coming to his feet rather than his head. His low work rate might be an issue but he is not that bad at moving off the ball or dribbling with it. 

2) If he has good work rate, acceleration, etc, he can track back consistently and safely in the knowledge that he has enough cover behind him. In this case a proper IWB, DLPS and a good DMD can make this work.

3) Give it a shot and report back please!

4) What about anticipation? It's really important for all of your players.

 Then, you can try moving your AMs back to WM strata to make them track back more or ordering them to mark opponent's full back position.

5) When you feel you lack penetration in matches, consider removing it or as you said instruct players individually. 

 

1) Gonna try CFs. Considering I explicitly try to keep the ball on the ground, his lack of aerial presence shouldn't really be relevant. 

2) 12 ACC, 14 Work Rate, 11 Team Work. Our Mezzala is arguably the most impressive player we have, attribute wise - sans dribbling. 
bc63c106b6f54e1de3402e2723c6dd88.png

3) Will do! 

4) My preferred back 4 has 13, 10, 12, 12 (from right to left). The one central defender is the outlier, of course, but the issue is that it's rarely him being out of position. Back post crosses should generally be dealt with by the full back, and they are always on the back foot. And if they aren't on the back foot, they consistently lose aerial duels to players half their size. Obviously I could have better anticipation in the back 4, but considering the club I'm managing I don't it's all that bad. The top clubs in Championship have players that make more than my entire team combined, and my reputation is hampering our ability to sign players without flaws. 

As for moving them back to the WM strata, I'm worried that'll make it hard to get the ball into attack considering out lack of ability to move the ball at the feet. They do seem to track back well already, but I'll keep it in mind. Either moving them, or using marking. Cheers. 

5) Aight, will remember. 

Thanks a lot again. Learning a lot from this. People learn differently, and I've never gotten too much from simply reading about something. It's much more beneficial for me to have discussions, and being able to ask questions and reflect on things - thanks a lot for bearing with me! :)

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Saw you mention that the game says your striker can't play CF due to having 1*. Personally think you should take the * business with a grain of salt as you can look at attributes and make your own mind up. Also just because the game recommends that your LAM is say an IW, doesn't mean he can't play IF or even W. 

 

 

Look forward to reading how you get on, seeing threads like this help with my own situations with the game! :)

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4 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

1) Gonna try CFs. Considering I explicitly try to keep the ball on the ground, his lack of aerial presence shouldn't really be relevant. 

2) 12 ACC, 14 Work Rate, 11 Team Work. Our Mezzala is arguably the most impressive player we have, attribute wise - sans dribbling. 
bc63c106b6f54e1de3402e2723c6dd88.png

3) Will do! 

4) My preferred back 4 has 13, 10, 12, 12 (from right to left). The one central defender is the outlier, of course, but the issue is that it's rarely him being out of position. Back post crosses should generally be dealt with by the full back, and they are always on the back foot. And if they aren't on the back foot, they consistently lose aerial duels to players half their size. Obviously I could have better anticipation in the back 4, but considering the club I'm managing I don't it's all that bad. The top clubs in Championship have players that make more than my entire team combined, and my reputation is hampering our ability to sign players without flaws. 

As for moving them back to the WM strata, I'm worried that'll make it hard to get the ball into attack considering out lack of ability to move the ball at the feet. They do seem to track back well already, but I'll keep it in mind. Either moving them, or using marking. Cheers. 

5) Aight, will remember. 

Thanks a lot again. Learning a lot from this. People learn differently, and I've never gotten too much from simply reading about something. It's much more beneficial for me to have discussions, and being able to ask questions and reflect on things - thanks a lot for bearing with me! :)

1) CFS might be too deep to support play properly when playing with high tempo, I'd watch him carefully during matches.

2)Yeah, your player is better off in the final third given his low bravery. Good call!

3)Then, the problem lies somewhere else. Maybe it's during transitions to defence or your FBs or wingers let their wings cross the ball accurately because they press later.

You're welcome. I am really happy if I'm of some help. I also struggled with the mechanics of this game and learned a lot from the likes of especially Cleon, Rashidi, Ozil, Experienced Defender, sporadicsmiles, crusadertsar and many others. Credit to them!

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FIRST UPDATE!

91a7723c9648783300be0204c1ef2498.png

Results are... pretty decent. That being said, here are some key takeaways: 

1: CHANCE CREATION 

In terms of quantity, pretty poor. In the 2-0 against Watford, they got a man sent off at 3 minutes, and we didn't manage to create a proper goal scoring chance until well into the second half (yes, I know we scored in 9th minute). The away game against Southend was pretty good overall. 
Home against Luton looks good, but it's not the whole story. We scored off of a corner, a long throw and a penalty, with the latter inflating our xG by a lot. We did have a couple other chances that could've been goals, but overall we still only had 11 shots all game. 
Last game against Huddersfield was a thoroughly deserved loss, same story only worse defending. 

vs Watford - 11 shots for, 7 against 
1127b22d2dd3da46ff0a8667ee2e3587.png

vs Southend - 11 shots for, 10 against
55de02834d328810b3b60b1895742c17.png

vs Luton - 11 shots for, 9 against
4677210ebd5de1c9c5dbeb1bb54fda7c.png

vs Huddersfield - 14 shots for, 9 against
20229aa205fa8a953d523eae513cfa1c.png


NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING...

This doesn't look so bad, does it? Positive xG in all games, more shots than the opposition all games - all from a relegation tipped side?
Well, I'm trying to look past the numbers. A lot of these chances and shots are towards the end of the games, when space opens up, and almost all of our proper chances and open play goals are from counters. While that isn't inherently a bad thing, relying on counters only work if you're able to get ahold of the ball. Plus, considering my players are average at best at carrying the ball, it also means that we absolutely need perfect passes to be hit on the break. On top of that, playing for counters seems suboptimal to me when so many of my players struggle to press effectively, as playing for breakaways generally relies on your team being able to force mistakes. It also seems like we struggle to keep the ball against teams that press us high, despite having a plethora of composed and good passers in the first and second half of the pitch. I'd really like to have this fixed somehow. 

SO!
Here is where I am at right now: 

1) I'd like us to create chances more regularly, and not solely rely on counters. I'm glad we're able to create really big chances on the counter, but if we play a team that sits back and/or is able to play around our press we simply won't get any chances right now. 
2) I'd like to improve our ability to keep possession against pressing teams. I would have thought our roles and system would allow us to do that. Is "higher tempo" causing this to happen? 
3) The right winger flat out refuses to provide width unless it's on the break. In every attack against a settled defence, he matches the opponent fullbacks width as if we have a wing back coming for the overlap. There is SO MUCH SPACE on the flank, and he refuses to move into it. I've tried with a couple of players, same result. Any thoughts? 
4) We keep conceding long shots from 20+ yards by players that have no right to score long shots. We're talking players with 10 and lower, every game. I've seen a couple of people complain about this; is this an ongoing ME flaw or am I doing something wrong?
5) We're conceding more goals than I'm comfortable with. Having to score 2+ goals every game is not something I want to rely on. 

THE TACTIC RIGHT NOW, PENDING CHANCGES ACCORDING TO THE ISSUES MENTIONED: 

d013e8763f481f338e74cef63476e0b0.png

Edited by Christopher S
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This latest tactic is nicely balanced in terms of roles and duties (unlike the first one, where the left flank/side looked like a recipe for defensive disaster).

The only potential problem is that some team instructions do not ideally match the setup of roles and duties. Actually, it's hard to figure out what style of football you want to play by looking at your tactic. 

For example, what's the reasoning behind instructions such as dribble less and tight marking in the first place? 

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12 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

This latest tactic is nicely balanced in terms of roles and duties (unlike the first one, where the left flank/side looked like a recipe for defensive disaster).

The only potential problem is that some team instructions do not ideally match the setup of roles and duties. Actually, it's hard to figure out what style of football you want to play by looking at your tactic. 

For example, what's the reasoning behind instructions such as dribble less and tight marking in the first place? 

All of the instructions are reasoned in the opening post. Allow me to copy paste: 

 

Quote

We can: 
1) Pass the ball. We have a plethora of good passers. A central defender, several central midfielders and even both strikers are good or great passers. 
2) Move off the ball. High OTB and Anticipation in most supporting and attacking players. 
3) Both of these things are emphasized by a high average Teamwork rating, with almost all my players being 11+. 
4) Run. Our fullbacks, wingers and strikers are all above average or rapid pace wise. 
5) Defend our own half with pressing and tackling. Our defenders and midfielders all possess good or great tackling, marking, acceleration, positioning, aggression and/or bravery. 

We can not: 
1) Jump. Outside of my left winger and defenders, we do not possess any serious aerial threat. The ball needs to be kept on the ground. 
2) Dribble. Outside of our 2 strikers and our left winger, we lack proficient dribblers. 
3) Press high. Despite generally having good or great work rate on our players, we seriously lack aggression in our front players. Only 2 players that play further up than DM have above 10 in Aggression. Same goes for Bravery. 
4) Defend crosses on the back post. This seems to me more of a Match Engine fault than anything, but crosses on the back post are just... undefendable. 

Based off of this, I surmise the following: 

- Play out of defense. We want to avoid long balls as we lose the aerial duels 9/10 times. We also have a good BPD. 
- Regroup. We do not have the players to counter press or even press high and hard. 
- Pass into space. We have good passers and good runners off the ball, and lack dribblers. 
- High tempo. Due to the quality of our passers, we should be able to pass the ball around quickly. 
- Dribble less. We lack dribblers. We can specificly ask those capable to dribble if their roles aren't already hard coded. 
- Low crosses. We lack significant aerial threat in the box. 
- Lower line of engagement. Our tackling and pressing capabilities are non existant further up. We should compress space and enable our capable defenders. 
- Tight marking and Get Stuck In. Since we are compressing space, we want to make it really hard to move inside of it. 
- Mentality: Balanced. I think the instructions and roles are already informing our players to do what they should. REALLY unsure here. 

I'll be the first to admit that I don't actually know what I'm doing. This is an attempt at trying to set my team up in a way that my players are able to execute. I'm doing this to try to actually learn how this ME works, tactically, as nothing makes sense to me ever since roles and team instructions were introduced.

Edited by Christopher S
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1 hour ago, Christopher S said:

FIRST UPDATE!

91a7723c9648783300be0204c1ef2498.png

Results are... pretty decent. That being said, here are some key takeaways: 

1: CHANCE CREATION 

In terms of quantity, pretty poor. In the 2-0 against Watford, they got a man sent off at 3 minutes, and we didn't manage to create a proper goal scoring chance until well into the second half (yes, I know we scored in 9th minute). The away game against Southend was pretty good overall. 
Home against Luton looks good, but it's not the whole story. We scored off of a corner, a long throw and a penalty, with the latter inflating our xG by a lot. We did have a couple other chances that could've been goals, but overall we still only had 11 shots all game. 
Last game against Huddersfield was a thoroughly deserved loss, same story only worse defending. 

vs Watford - 11 shots for, 7 against 
1127b22d2dd3da46ff0a8667ee2e3587.png

vs Southend - 11 shots for, 10 against
55de02834d328810b3b60b1895742c17.png

vs Luton - 11 shots for, 9 against
4677210ebd5de1c9c5dbeb1bb54fda7c.png

vs Huddersfield - 14 shots for, 9 against
20229aa205fa8a953d523eae513cfa1c.png


NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING...

This doesn't look so bad, does it? Positive xG in all games, more shots than the opposition all games - all from a relegation tipped side?
Well, I'm trying to look past the numbers. A lot of these chances and shots are towards the end of the games, when space opens up, and almost all of our proper chances and open play goals are from counters. While that isn't inherently a bad thing, relying on counters only work if you're able to get ahold of the ball. Plus, considering my players are average at best at carrying the ball, it also means that we absolutely need perfect passes to be hit on the break. On top of that, playing for counters seems suboptimal to me when so many of my players struggle to press effectively, as playing for breakaways generally relies on your team being able to force mistakes. It also seems like we struggle to keep the ball against teams that press us high, despite having a plethora of composed and good passers in the first and second half of the pitch. I'd really like to have this fixed somehow. 

SO!
Here is where I am at right now: 

1) I'd like us to create chances more regularly, and not solely rely on counters. I'm glad we're able to create really big chances on the counter, but if we play a team that sits back and/or is able to play around our press we simply won't get any chances right now. 
2) I'd like to improve our ability to keep possession against pressing teams. I would have thought our roles and system would allow us to do that. Is "higher tempo" causing this to happen? 
3) The right winger flat out refuses to provide width unless it's on the break. In every attack against a settled defence, he matches the opponent fullbacks width as if we have a wing back coming for the overlap. There is SO MUCH SPACE on the flank, and he refuses to move into it. I've tried with a couple of players, same result. Any thoughts? 
4) We keep conceding long shots from 20+ yards by players that have no right to score long shots. We're talking players with 10 and lower, every game. I've seen a couple of people complain about this; is this an ongoing ME flaw or am I doing something wrong?
5) We're conceding more goals than I'm comfortable with. Having to score 2+ goals every game is not something I want to rely on. 

THE TACTIC RIGHT NOW, PENDING CHANCGES ACCORDING TO THE ISSUES MENTIONED: 

d013e8763f481f338e74cef63476e0b0.png

Let's approach your problems in a different way. Which players don't play in the way you expect them to perform or in other words, do the players do what you tell them to do? Are they in the right positions during your defensive or attacking transitions?

By the way, I now realised you instruct your players to play risky passes most of the time. (Pass Into Space) Only your IFA is going to attack space behind consistently. I'd consider removing this.

Are your fullbacks able to reach their expected positions before your attacking transitions end given the higher tempo instruction? Do your attacks end prematurely due to your IFA being up there alone without anyone occupying their markers? 

If you want to dribble less, why do you have such players roles instructed to run with the ball? Generally, higher tempo and dribble less is only going to work if your players have much better off the ball, acceleration, agility, anticipation, decisions, teamwork, first touch, balance, composure, passing and workrate than the rest because they have to be able to keep the ball, pass it accurately and create goalscoring chances with their superior off the ball movement. Are they really able to play in this way?

Edited by frukox
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56 minutes ago, frukox said:

Let's approach your problems in a different way. Which players don't play in the way you expect them to perform or in other words, do the players do what you tell them to do? Are they in the right positions during your defensive or attacking transitions?

Fair enough. Let me try to answer! 

The main offender is the right winger, as mention in my update post. It's something I've noticed over the past months. Wide players refuse to stay wide, and instead just match the opposition fullback as if I have a fullback overlapping. Against almost every team, there is a VAST amount of space on the right hand side, and no one in it. My player simply refuses to go there. Second is the MCR, the Mezzala. He isn't really getting into the channels all too often - which I assume is because the winger insists on going in narrow despite every effort to prevent this. 
Outside of those two, we generally line up positionally as I want to offensively. Problem is, this specific issue makes sort of crumbles the gameplan as a whole, offensively, as my entire right side is based on the concept of the winger keeping width. 

An example: 

1e74846df2e1e9ccac6bb348a80fe3d6.jpg

We are holding the 2-3-5 shape I want, except my left back is too far back for my liking. There is an ocean of space in front of him. On top of that, my right winger (nr 15) is tucking in again. There is an ocean of space outside and ahead of him as well. I've drawn up yellow arrows for where they should be, and how much easier it would be for us to create chances if my players moved into the right positions. Only two passes later (less than 3 seconds), my right winger has managed to go EVEN MORE NARROW: 

dfbe44c5e13f6c4662226390c201a41d.jpg

Again, arrows showing where I want my winger and left back to be - and how many options my DM (Asamoah) would have if they just positioned properly in attack. The left back might be a matter of choosing WBa instead of WBs, or increasing the mentality to positive/attacking; but as for the right winger, I have no idea. Do I need to crank the team width up? I'm afraid that if I do that, the distance between my players will be too high and we wont be able to build up play much. I've not toyed much with the width setting at all on FM21, any input here? I need to get that right winger to go wide and stay there, if not I'm essentially playing on two thirds of the pitch. 

Like, why is he here?
2a54fa93067358d07159922e20d0f7fe.jpg

He's almost smack dab in the middle of the pitch, and he's a freaking winger! Provide width, you inbread moron! This happens consistently, ever game, without exception. The few times he goes wide is when he has the ball and decides to dribble; then, he'll dribble towards the touchline to look for a cross. But he almost never holds width the way I want him to.

Defensively, it's the same as with every other tactic. Long shots and cross to the back post. Every game. Doesn't matter if it's a counter or against established defence. The only thing needed for the opponent to score is a cross to the backpost. I sort of consider it a fact of the Match Engine at this point, as nothing I've tried over the past 3 months works. Another conondrum entirely, however, is finding the right role for the striker. I need a role where he doesnt drop all the way back in defense, while still being part of the build up going forward. If I put him on DLFs, he drops all the way into his own half in defense. If I put him on an attacking role, he will pressure defenders and stay up to receive a ball on the counter, but he'll be very isolated in attack. I need to find the middle point. 

Quote

By the way, I now realised you instruct your players to play risky passes most of the time. (Pass Into Space) Only your IFA is going to attack space behind consistently. I'd consider removing this.

That I did. I chose the instruction because most of my attacking players are fairly incapable dribblers, but quick and good off the ball. That, combined with the act that my midfielders are all great passers, I thought that looking for passes into space would be a good idea. I'll try and take it off and see what happens. 

Quote

Are your fullbacks able to reach their expected positions before your attacking transitions end given the higher tempo instruction? Do your attacks end prematurely due to your IFA being up there alone without anyone occupying their markers? 

My left fullback reaches his position most of the time, but as a WBs he doesnt want to go all the way. He sort stops on the edge between the middle third and the attacking third, despite my AML going inwards. This is what I was afraid of initially, and why I originally had him on WBa. As for my right fullback, he seems to have no issue getting into position, but sadly he goes outside way too often due to the AMR going inside all the time (as previously mentioned). If I can get my winger to stay wide, I think the IWB will function even better. 

As for the IFa, he does sometimes run attacks into the ground prematurely. That being said, my experience is that that'll happen regardless with wide players in the AM strata. In any tactic I have a winger, IW, IF or WP, on either attack or support, they will always try to take on 50 yards of space 2-3 times per match. Seems inevitable from my experience. 
As previously mentioned, I have considered moving him to a IFs (especially with a WBa behind him), but then I worry we won't have any penetration moving forward. 

Quote

If you want to dribble less, why do you have such players roles instructed to run with the ball? Generally, higher tempo and dribble less is only going to work if your players have much better off the ball, acceleration, anticipation, decisions, teamwork, first touch, balance, composure, passing, workrate than the rest because they have to be able to keep the ball, pass it accurately and create goalscoring chances with their superior off the ball movement. Are they really able to play in this way?

Thing is, that is exactly what my players are good at. My midfielders all have good anticipation, decisions, teamwork, first touch, balance, composure, passing, work rate, vision and off the ball, but they can't dribble and they are slow. My attackers the same, except swap vision with pace and acceleration. Granted, yours and my definition of good might differ. The only players that have roles that are hard coded to dribble are good dribblers - being the striker and the two wingers. The goals we do score implies to me that we are able to play that way, as they are almost exclusively through balls playing into space onto a moving player. 

Edited by Christopher S
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1 hour ago, Christopher S said:

Fair enough. Let me try to answer! 

The main offender is the right winger, as mention in my update post. It's something I've noticed over the past months. Wide players refuse to stay wide, and instead just match the opposition fullback as if I have a fullback overlapping. Against almost every team, there is a VAST amount of space on the right hand side, and no one in it. My player simply refuses to go there. Second is the MCR, the Mezzala. He isn't really getting into the channels all too often - which I assume is because the winger insists on going in narrow despite every effort to prevent this. 
Outside of those two, we generally line up positionally as I want to offensively. Problem is, this specific issue makes sort of crumbles the gameplan as a whole, offensively, as my entire right side is based on the concept of the winger keeping width. 

An example: 

1e74846df2e1e9ccac6bb348a80fe3d6.jpg

We are holding the 2-3-5 shape I want, except my left back is too far back for my liking. There is an ocean of space in front of him. On top of that, my right winger (nr 15) is tucking in again. There is an ocean of space outside and ahead of him as well. I've drawn up yellow arrows for where they should be, and how much easier it would be for us to create chances if my players moved into the right positions. Only two passes later (less than 3 seconds), my right winger has managed to go EVEN MORE NARROW: 

dfbe44c5e13f6c4662226390c201a41d.jpg

Again, arrows showing where I want my winger and left back to be - and how many options my DM (Asamoah) would have if they just positioned properly in attack. The left back might be a matter of choosing WBa instead of WBs, or increasing the mentality to positive/attacking; but as for the right winger, I have no idea. Do I need to crank the team width up? I'm afraid that if I do that, the distance between my players will be too high and we wont be able to build up play much. I've not toyed much with the width setting at all on FM21, any input here? I need to get that right winger to go wide and stay there, if not I'm essentially playing on two thirds of the pitch. 

Like, why is he here?
2a54fa93067358d07159922e20d0f7fe.jpg

He's almost smack dab in the middle of the pitch, and he's a freaking winger! Provide width, you inbread moron! This happens consistently, ever game, without exception. The few times he goes wide is when he has the ball and decides to dribble; then, he'll dribble towards the touchline to look for a cross. But he almost never holds width the way I want him to.

Defensively, it's the same as with every other tactic. Long shots and cross to the back post. Every game. Doesn't matter if it's a counter or against established defence. The only thing needed for the opponent to score is a cross to the backpost. I sort of consider it a fact of the Match Engine at this point, as nothing I've tried over the past 3 months works. Another conondrum entirely, however, is finding the right role for the striker. I need a role where he doesnt drop all the way back in defense, while still being part of the build up going forward. If I put him on DLFs, he drops all the way into his own half in defense. If I put him on an attacking role, he will pressure defenders and stay up to receive a ball on the counter, but he'll be very isolated in attack. I need to find the middle point. 

That I did. I chose the instruction because most of my attacking players are fairly incapable dribblers, but quick and good off the ball. That, combined with the act that my midfielders are all great passers, I thought that looking for passes into space would be a good idea. I'll try and take it off and see what happens. 

My left fullback reaches his position most of the time, but as a WBs he doesnt want to go all the way. He sort stops on the edge between the middle third and the attacking third, despite my AML going inwards. This is what I was afraid of initially, and why I originally had him on WBa. As for my right fullback, he seems to have no issue getting into position, but sadly he goes outside way too often due to the AMR going inside all the time (as previously mentioned). If I can get my winger to stay wide, I think the IWB will function even better. 

As for the IFa, he does sometimes run attacks into the ground prematurely. That being said, my experience is that that'll happen regardless with wide players in the AM strata. In any tactic I have a winger, IW, IF or WP, on either attack or support, they will always try to take on 50 yards of space 2-3 times per match. Seems inevitable from my experience. 
As previously mentioned, I have considered moving him to a IFs (especially with a WBa behind him), but then I worry we won't have any penetration moving forward. 

Thing is, that is exactly what my players are good at. My midfielders all have good anticipation, decisions, teamwork, first touch, balance, composure, passing, work rate, vision and off the ball, but they can't dribble and they are slow. My attackers the same, except swap vision with pace and acceleration. Granted, yours and my definition of good might differ. The only players that have roles that are hard coded to dribble are good dribblers - being the striker and the two wingers. The goals we do score implies to me that we are able to play that way, as they are almost exclusively through balls playing into space onto a moving player. 

Let's first turn him into a FBA by increasing the WBs mentality a notch and if you don't want him to cross the ball too much give him Fewer Risky Passes or use Overload Left instruction to increase his mentality and drop the IFA's slightly.

Note that no one is occupying opposition CBs there in that phase so they can stay narrow comfortably when defending. Turn him into a CFA to create some question marks for the defence.

Thirdly, focus play down both flanks to create some space in the middle. The opposition defence will have to move sideways so this may create space in the middle for MEZA or IFA to use.

Defence-wise, this means they find too much time to do something with the ball. Hence, pressing more urgently and raising DL might restrict these chances before they happen. You may also consider closing down their FBs or WBs always by OI ing them.

Edited by frukox
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Solid suggestions, I'll put them to use.

Regarding the defensive line, I've already set that to Higher without it really doing anything to prevent long shots. We've conceded 6 long shots + 1 free kick in the past 10 games - 3 long shots in the past 5 games. It's infuriating, especially considering none of the players shooting these shots are even remotely good at long shots. 
I suppose I could narrow our defensive width, but anytime I do that it just leads to even more goals conceded to crosses towars the back post. 

EDIT: 
Game against Coventry. Waddayaknow? 7 minutes in, 0-2. One cross to the far post and one long shot. What the actual ****.
EDIT2: 
And a 30 yard free kick. 

Edited by Christopher S
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f0cf23da90f4aa059d4c0eab73d55e43.png

That's the latest setup, following recent advice. Story is the same as all the other games: 

We have more shots, higher xG, and concede random goals from long shots, direct free kicks and crosses to the far post. 
All my crosses get blocked by the first defender, yet the opponents crosses are never blocked. All my players attempts to dribble past their fullbacks fail, yet all their dribbles work. 

I don't know. I'm at my wits end. Nothing I do changes anything in any significant way. The goals I concede happen regardless of instructions and our goals are mostly through set pieces and the odd counter. In essence, I'm back where I started - with a tactics engine that makes absolutely no sense to me. 

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Try the following tweaks:

- switch the mezzala to CM on attack duty in order to get more direct central penetration

- switch the LB to WB on support (or automatic), because that would both make the left flank better balanced and the overlap left TI less risky (because the overlap and underlap instructions increase the individual mentality of the related FB/WB)

- remove the get stuck in because it's too risky when coupled with a high D-line

- remove regroup , because the tactic as a whole does not look like it's defense-minded

- try the tactic both with and without focusing play on the flanks and see which version works better for your team (experiment)

- while IWB fits perfectly in your setup as a role, you need to make sure the player playing the role has the right set of attributes, because the role is considerably more demanding than standard FB or WB

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17 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Try the following tweaks:

- switch the mezzala to CM on attack duty in order to get more direct central penetration

- switch the LB to WB on support (or automatic), because that would both make the left flank better balanced and the overlap left TI less risky (because the overlap and underlap instructions increase the individual mentality of the related FB/WB)

- remove the get stuck in because it's too risky when coupled with a high D-line

- remove regroup , because the tactic as a whole does not look like it's defense-minded

- try the tactic both with and without focusing play on the flanks and see which version works better for your team (experiment)

- while IWB fits perfectly in your setup as a role, you need to make sure the player playing the role has the right set of attributes, because the role is considerably more demanding than standard FB or WB

Will try, cheers. 

This is my primary guy for the IWB: 

7be2720abe3b2c54f928e6aa600e53fa.png

Considering we're aiming for mid table in the Championship, he should a good fit, no?

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I'm not sure what your players are like, but I'm thinking the following, just based on the set up:

Defence

The combination of higher defensive line and regroup might be an issue. If you don't put pressure on the opposition ('regroup'), they've probably got more time to pick out a good pass or long ball, and exploit the space left behind your line ('higher defensive line'). Regrouping with a lower line, or counter pressing with a higher line, might be better combinations, depending on how you want the team to play.

Attack

I think part of the issue might be a lack of a central advanced creator, or a 'number 10' type player. On the left, the IF(a) and CF(a) will look to get forward more often (i.e. both playing as 'number 9s'). On the right, the W(s) stays wide, and the Mez(a). This leaves the IWB(s) and the DLP(s) as the two players in the middle. They might play well, but on paper it looks like they might play too deep to effectively link with the more attacking players. If you have the right striker for it, maybe put him on a support role. CF(s), DLF(s) or F9(s) might work a little better, as they should drop a little deeper to create chances for the IF(a).

When I put tactics together, I look at the formation, which is how the team (in theory) defends, or plays without the ball, and I look at where the obvious gap is that needs filling when the team has the ball. I also play a 4-3-3, and the gap is clearly between the central midfield and striker:

image.png.3f79bc6cb7c0bb545f08338b46d1ee47.png

So I then consider who is likely to move into that position when I have the ball. 

For you, it is not clear who will do it:

image.png.263e1748623d6bfd94927cc36d24b7ba.png

That is where the players are more likely to go.

That is why I think possibly a supporting striker would be a good idea, because then you might see this (in theory!):

image.png.9cf6ce9bcf7c0b77fcdd449ca0cf2116.png

Of course, it is dependent on you having good players for the roles. If your striker is a poacher, he will probably be useless as a supporting striker.

I also agree with the above, that if you have a winger on the right, a CM(a) would probably work better, so that you have someone attacking the middle. Then you might have something more like this:

image.png.9d76fe5cf8a4fc6f69339e502dec2145.png

I hope that helps to some extent.

 

 

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Appreciate the input!

If you look back a few posts, finding the right role for the striker has been a key point. My experience is that all the supporting roles drop way too deep when we defend and don't really occupy either of the centre backs when attacking. The attacking roles are the opposite; they pressure the centre backs and stretch them, but leave a big gap behind them. 

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51 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

f0cf23da90f4aa059d4c0eab73d55e43.png

That's the latest setup, following recent advice. Story is the same as all the other games: 

We have more shots, higher xG, and concede random goals from long shots, direct free kicks and crosses to the far post. 
All my crosses get blocked by the first defender, yet the opponents crosses are never blocked. All my players attempts to dribble past their fullbacks fail, yet all their dribbles work. 

I don't know. I'm at my wits end. Nothing I do changes anything in any significant way. The goals I concede happen regardless of instructions and our goals are mostly through set pieces and the odd counter. In essence, I'm back where I started - with a tactics engine that makes absolutely no sense to me. 

Let's first remove Overlap Left and FBA has an increased mentality and help IFA better in the early build-up.

Hitting early crosses may work because the system has three reliable runners in to the box from different angles before the opposition defence settles.

Change CFA to a simple PA. He's going to keep it simple. When he can't pass the ball forward, he wil pass it back to another player in space or take the ball to the flank for a crossing opportunity if he gets the ball early and wide and occupy opposition CBs.

Remove Regroup. Let them decide what to do in that particular situation. Maybe add Roll It Out to your CBs to make the ball reach to your central playmaker early.

Increase the pressing urgency by a notch to make the defence a bit more proactive or add Closing down instructions to wide AMs and ST to create a split block to try to get the ball early close to the flanks or for early interceptions by your striker.

Try adding Only Focus Play Down to right flank to release the IFA and FBA on the other side.  

 

 

Edited by frukox
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5 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Appreciate the input!

If you look back a few posts, finding the right role for the striker has been a key point. My experience is that all the supporting roles drop way too deep when we defend and don't really occupy either of the centre backs when attacking. The attacking roles are the opposite; they pressure the centre backs and stretch them, but leave a big gap behind them. 

This means they need to press early to close that gap before the ball reaches to the middle third so removing Regroup and pressing more urgently or a split block mentioned above could help with this.

Edited by frukox
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Just now, Christopher S said:

If you look back a few posts, finding the right role for the striker has been a key point. My experience is that all the supporting roles drop way too deep when we defend and don't really occupy either of the centre backs when attacking. The attacking roles are the opposite; they pressure the centre backs and stretch them, but leave a big gap behind them. 

It's possible that a CM(a) might solve that, to a degree, because then you've got (again, theoretically!) three players occupying the opposition centre backs:

1. IF(a) should cut in from out wide, and give the opponent's right centre back something to do;

2. The CM(a) will also attack through the middle, and is likely to challenge the opponent's left centre back; and

3. A decent supporting striker will also be in the same area, sometimes dropping deep to pull the centre backs out of position, or exploiting any space created by the IF(a) and CM(a) pulling defenders away.

Alternatively, you could try keeping the striker on attack, and change the IF to support? Then the IF(s) might do a job creating through the middle.

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2 minutes ago, ryandormer said:

It's possible that a CM(a) might solve that, to a degree, because then you've got (again, theoretically!) three players occupying the opposition centre backs:

1. IF(a) should cut in from out wide, and give the opponent's right centre back something to do;

2. The CM(a) will also attack through the middle, and is likely to challenge the opponent's left centre back; and

3. A decent supporting striker will also be in the same area, sometimes dropping deep to pull the centre backs out of position, or exploiting any space created by the IF(a) and CM(a) pulling defenders away.

Alternatively, you could try keeping the striker on attack, and change the IF to support? Then the IF(s) might do a job creating through the middle.

CMA needs the trait of Get Into Opp Area to make those runs early into the box. I don't think he has it. A MEZA will move the ball to the right halfspace hopefully occupying one of the CBs to create space for IFA and PA to operate. Meanwhile, opposition left FB can't help because he has WS with him. I'd definitely keep the MEZA here.

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1 minute ago, frukox said:

CMA needs the trait of Get Into Opp Area to make those runs early into the box. I don't think he has it. A MEZA will move the ball to the right halfspace hopefully occupying one of the CBs to create space for IFA and PA to operate. Meanwhile, opposition left FB can't help because he has WS with him. I'd definitely keep the MEZA here.

A CMa can move into the right half space by ticking 'Move into channels', no?

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A Mez(a) can definitely work--within reason, anything can work, as long as there is some degree of balance, and you've got the right players.

But as a rule, if I'm playing a 433, with an attacking central midfielder, I'd always have him on CM(a) if playing with a winger, or a Mez(a) if playing with an IF(s)/IW(s). I find those combinations tend to work better.

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7 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

A CMa can move into the right half space by ticking 'Move into channels', no?

As far as I see a right-footed CMA with MIC will do that by running wide with the ball but he's going to stay central and wait for the channels to opened up to move into. Staying wide in the halfspaces consistently is what a MEZ is hard-coded for.

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3 minutes ago, frukox said:

As far as I see a right-footed CMA with MIC will do that by running wide with the ball but he's going to stay central and wait for the channels to opened up to move into. Staying wide in the halfspaces consistently is what a MEZ is hard-coded for.

Fair enough. For what it's worth, one of the things I noticed recently is that the MZa would go wide too early, hampering buildup play by being too far away from the DM and the right CB, so CMa looks like a good shout for testing. 

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1 minute ago, Christopher S said:

Fair enough. For what it's worth, one of the things I noticed recently is that the MZa would go wide too early, hampering buildup play by being too far away from the DM and the right CB, so CMa looks like a good shout for testing. 

Test it but make sure there is someone occupying those CBs.

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Just now, Christopher S said:

There is a PFa currently. 

Good call. I said so because an attack duty striker will create some depth in the middle for CMA to pass or shoot but against two DMs or three CBs I don't know whether this attacking plan will work. 

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Unrelated to previous topics; 

Is there any way to make a goalkeeper distribute the ball the way you want him to, no matter what? My GK refuses to distribute it short if there's an opponent within 5 meters of my players and just kicks it randomly up the field. I want him to play it short no matter what, as kicking it long is a 100% surefire way for us to lose the ball. 
I'd rather take the risk playing out from the back. 

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1 minute ago, Christopher S said:

Unrelated to previous topics; 

Is there any way to make a goalkeeper distribute the ball the way you want him to, no matter what? My GK refuses to distribute it short if there's an opponent within 5 meters of my players and just kicks it randomly up the field. I want him to play it short no matter what, as kicking it long is a 100% surefire way for us to lose the ball. 
I'd rather take the risk playing out from the back. 

Try adding Roll It Out and Distribute to CBs-mentioned in one of my previous posts. It should work in the way you want.

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1 minute ago, Christopher S said:

Unrelated to previous topics; 

Is there any way to make a goalkeeper distribute the ball the way you want him to, no matter what? My GK refuses to distribute it short if there's an opponent within 5 meters of my players and just kicks it randomly up the field. I want him to play it short no matter what, as kicking it long is a 100% surefire way for us to lose the ball. 
I'd rather take the risk playing out from the back. 

I tell my GK to pass to centre backs, and set the team to play out of defence, but every now and then the GK smashes the ball upfield. I'm not sure there's a way to guarantee that he doesn't do it.

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50 minutes ago, ryandormer said:

But as a rule, if I'm playing a 433, with an attacking central midfielder, I'd always have him on CM(a) if playing with a winger, or a Mez(a) if playing with an IF(s)/IW(s). I find those combinations tend to work better.

I'm the opposite. If I've got a Winger, I always put a Mezzala next to him to get control of the wide and half space and overload that side. IW/IF don't stay wide and therefore interfere in the Mezzala's space.

9 hours ago, Christopher S said:

3) Press high. Despite generally having good or great work rate on our players, we seriously lack aggression in our front players. Only 2 players that play further up than DM have above 10 in Aggression. Same goes for Bravery. 

You don't need Aggression and Bravery to press high. These attributes influence how often and how willing your players are to tackle and compete in duels (amongst other things), but generally you don't actually want your team to be tackling all the time. What's more important is the ability to slow down and contain the opposition. Therefore, Stamina, Work Rate, Teamwork, Anticipation, Concentration and Decisions are the most important attributes for high blocks. 

3 hours ago, Christopher S said:

 Another conondrum entirely, however, is finding the right role for the striker. I need a role where he doesnt drop all the way back in defense, while still being part of the build up going forward. If I put him on DLFs, he drops all the way into his own half in defense. If I put him on an attacking role, he will pressure defenders and stay up to receive a ball on the counter, but he'll be very isolated in attack. I need to find the middle point. 

DLF(A) will still drop deep. Not as deep as he would on a support duty, but as someone who just had his DLF(A) score 40 goals spearheading a 4-3-3, I can tell you he drops plenty deep for build-up purposes. Other attacking roles that'll drop deep for you to consider: Complete Forward, Target Man and Trequartista. 

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GOOOOOD MORNING VIETNAM!

I put to use some of your suggestions last night, plus an idea of my own to try an force less hoofing from the back 4, and my system currently looks like this: 

104a11d18356c958b835332079722b08.png

I swapped my DM from DMd to a DLPd to try and enforce more patient buildup play without having to go directly to the centre midfielder, and it seems to work fairly well. Felt I had to change the MCl from DLPs to APs, as I imagine having 2 DLP's is somewhat problematic - however, is it? I've instructed the APs to 'Hold Position' to retain some of the holding aspects of the DLPs. I'm toying with the idea of making him a Carrilero as well - let me know your thoughts. 

Results: 

6f6f49faec970699fd422d32c7a04f0e.png

Again, on face value, good results. Behind the results, however, it's a different story. Let's look at some game stats: 

image.png.d26c7ad8ca39ae2090f0a9945ecefaa9.png

WHAT CAN WE DEDUCE?

My immediate impression from watching the games, and from the game stats is that possession is key. What do I mean? Well, quite simply, if we aren't able to control possession we lose control of the game. That suggests to me that we aren't able to defend effectively in our own half and/or our own defensive third. Considering the fact that 90% of the goals we concede er from long shots or a cross to the back post, that sounds familiar (fun fact: the game against Rochdale was 3 goals conceded on the back post). This has been the case all season, ever since starting this experiment/process. When we dominate possession, we are absolutely rampant. If it's even or the opponent has the ball, we concede a lot. In all of these games, sans the games vs Swansea and Bristol, we could have and should have lost. Badly. 

To simply a long paragraph: if we control possession, we win. If we do not, we lose. That's where we're at right now. 

I also noticed something when looking at the post game analysis that I've not seen before. Take a look at my back 4's average positions without possession: 

2e2f3a4bfa1155972098a468a4f3897f.png

It's like this every game. Both my central defenders have "Stays back at all times", and similar stats in aggression and bravery. They have the same instructions, yet my left CB is falling significantly further behind, creating a massive gap between him and the left back - and it leaves space in front of the defence. Sure, it's an average metric over 90 minutes, but this worries me a bit. This same dynamic happens no matter who he's paired with as well. Anyone had this happen before? What can I do to address it? Do I just instruct him to press more? Is it happening because the Left Back is moving so far up, and he's covering space? I would have thought that would show his average positioning to be further to the left, not further back? Or is it the other way around - is the RCB playing too far up? Keep in mind this happens regardless of who's playing RCB. 

IN SUMMARY

So, core issues to address now: 

1) Based on the extreme variance related to possession, how can maximize our ability to control possession every game without hurting our ability to penetrate their defence? If we can't defend our own defensive third, then maybe we can minimize the need to do so by limiting their access to the ball. 
2) If we can't achieve what I mention in 1), then how can we shore up our defence whenever we can't control the ball? And more specifically: how do we stop conceding goals from crosses to the back post? Seriously?
3) What is going on with my centre backs? The misalignments seems problematic to me. 

Cheers!

 

 

Edited by Christopher S
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1 hour ago, Christopher S said:

GOOOOOD MORNING VIETNAM!

I put to use some of your suggestions last night, plus an idea of my own to try an force less hoofing from the back 4, and my system currently looks like this: 

104a11d18356c958b835332079722b08.png

I swapped my DM from DMd to a DLPd to try and enforce more patient buildup play without having to go directly to the centre midfielder, and it seems to work fairly well. Felt I had to change the MCl from DLPs to APs, as I imagine having 2 DLP's is somewhat problematic - however, is it? I've instructed the APs to 'Hold Position' to retain some of the holding aspects of the DLPs. I'm toying with the idea of making him a Carrilero as well - let me know your thoughts. 

Results: 

6f6f49faec970699fd422d32c7a04f0e.png

Again, on face value, good results. Behind the results, however, it's a different story. Let's look at some game stats: 

image.png.d26c7ad8ca39ae2090f0a9945ecefaa9.png

WHAT CAN WE DEDUCE?

My immediate impression from watching the games, and from the game stats is that possession is key. What do I mean? Well, quite simply, if we aren't able to control possession we lose control of the game. That suggests to me that we aren't able to defend effectively in our own half and/or our own defensive third. Considering the fact that 90% of the goals we concede er from long shots or a cross to the back post, that sounds familiar (fun fact: the game against Rochdale was 3 goals conceded on the back post). This has been the case all season, ever since starting this experiment/process. When we dominate possession, we are absolutely rampant. If it's even or the opponent has the ball, we concede a lot. In all of these games, sans the games vs Swansea and Bristol, we could have and should have lost. Badly. 

To simply a long paragraph: if we control possession, we win. If we do not, we lose. That's where we're at right now. 

I also noticed something when looking at the post game analysis that I've not seen before. Take a look at my back 4's average positions without possession: 

2e2f3a4bfa1155972098a468a4f3897f.png

It's like this every game. Both my central defenders have "Stays back at all times", and similar stats in aggression and bravery. They have the same instructions, yet my left CB is falling significantly further behind, creating a massive gap between him and the left back - and it leaves space in front of the defence. Sure, it's an average metric over 90 minutes, but this worries me a bit. This same dynamic happens no matter who he's paired with as well. Anyone had this happen before? What can I do to address it? Do I just instruct him to press more? Is it happening because the Left Back is moving so far up, and he's covering space? I would have thought that would show his average positioning to be further to the left, not further back? Or is it the other way around - is the RCB playing too far up? Keep in mind this happens regardless of who's playing RCB. 

IN SUMMARY

So, core issues to address now: 

1) Based on the extreme variance related to possession, how can maximize our ability to control possession every game without hurting our ability to penetrate their defence? If we can't defend our own defensive third, then maybe we can minimize the need to do so by limiting their access to the ball. 
2) If we can't achieve what I mention in 1), then how can we shore up our defence whenever we can't control the ball? And more specifically: how do we stop conceding goals from crosses to the back post? Seriously?
3) What is going on with my centre backs? The misalignments seems problematic to me. 

Cheers!

 

 

It's simple. When you are favourite, they refuse to press you all over the field but when the odds are close, they apply a mid-block or a high block and then they are able to play through your press which shows you need to change your standard plan.

I'm talking about your home tactic(this one)

It looks good but I'd watch whether CMA and DLFA are able to do what you expect from them during matches especially against formations with 3 CBs and/or two DMs.

Add More Urgent Pressing or apply a split block and drop LOE to Standard to increase the needed space your DLFA and IFA to operate at their best.

And you need a plan B. This should be a tactic where your priority is not to concede much but make the most of your possession numbers where opponents don't let you play your possession game.

As to your third question, I have no idea really.

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20 minutes ago, frukox said:

It's simple. When you are favourite, they refuse to press you all over the field but when the odds are close, they apply a mid-block or a high block and then they are able to play through your press which shows you need to change your standard plan.

I'm talking about your home tactic(this one)

It looks good but I'd watch whether CMA and DLFA are able to do what you expect from them during matches especially against formations with 3 CBs and/or two DMs.

Add More Urgent Pressing or apply a split block and drop LOE to Standard to increase the needed space your DLFA and IFA to operate at their best.

And you need a plan B. This should be a tactic where your priority is not to concede much but make the most of your possession numbers where opponents don't let you play your possession game.

As to your third question, I have no idea really.

Okay, so essentially, my setup is only viable if we are expected to win. Got it. That is helpful, but means I'm back to square one for 70% of my games considering our low reputation. Furthermore, I'm not comfortable giving away possession as long as the match engine produces the types of goals against me that it is. I just went through every game since I started this thread, and counted the goals: 

11 games. 
21 goals conceded.
7 longshots (including 2 direct free kicks)
8 crosses to the back post
6 goals distributed amongst over the top goals, penalties, corners and general open play goals. 

That is an unnatural distribution of conceded goals, considering I've tried every trick I know to prevent both of these types of goals. This doesn't even account for the back post crosses that doesn't end up in goals. I simply cannot allow teams to control games against us if two thirds of the goals we concede are from back post crosses and longshots. If we willingly sit back that simply facilitates those types of situations. It is extremely frustrating to play this game when every match feels like a repeat of the previous; just waiting for the inevitable cross to the back post causing a goal. There is no variance. 6 goals across 11 games not from back post cross or long shot. It feels like I have no impact over how we concede goals or how we defend. It just... happens. 

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2 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Okay, so essentially, my setup is only viable if we are expected to win. Got it. That is helpful, but means I'm back to square one for 70% of my games considering our low reputation. Furthermore, I'm not comfortable giving away possession as long as the match engine produces the types of goals against me that it is. I just went through every game since I started this thread, and counted the goals: 

11 games. 
21 goals conceded.
7 longshots (including 2 direct free kicks)
8 crosses to the back post
6 goals distributed amongst over the top goals, penalties, corners and general open play goals. 

That is an unnatural distribution of conceded goals, considering I've tried every trick I know to prevent both of these types of goals. This doesn't even account for the back post crosses that doesn't end up in goals. I simply cannot allow teams to control games against us if two thirds of the goals we concede are from back post crosses and longshots. If we willingly sit back that simply facilitates those types of situations. It is extremely frustration to play this game when every match feels like a repeat of the previous; just waiting for the inevitable cross to the back post causing a goal. There is no variance. 6 goals across 11 games not from back post cross or long shot. It feels like I have no impact over how we concede goals or how we defend. It just... happens. 

Then, try doing it with a Cautious mentality(ofc with changing certain things) if you don't like to take risks with or without the ball. I mean play a less risky possession game but sometimes you have play for the draw or see your defend-duty hoof the ball, beware. 

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4 minutes ago, frukox said:

Then, try doing it with a Cautious mentality(ofc with changing certain things) if you don't like to take risks with or without the ball. I mean play a less risky possession game but sometimes you have play for the draw or see your defend-duty hoof the ball, beware. 

I obviously don't mind playing for a draw. I mind the fact that I don't feel like I have any control over the type of goals we concede, because it feels almost scripted against me. We've drawn a single game so far, in 22 games - and not for a lack of trying. If I try to caution the play, and play for a draw, we concede a long shot or a cross to the back post. If I try to control the game, we concede a long shot or cross to the back post. 

Are you suggesting lower risk in possession play to retain possession, as to avoid said situations?

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14 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Okay, so essentially, my setup is only viable if we are expected to win. Got it. That is helpful, but means I'm back to square one for 70% of my games considering our low reputation. Furthermore, I'm not comfortable giving away possession as long as the match engine produces the types of goals against me that it is. I just went through every game since I started this thread, and counted the goals: 

11 games. 
21 goals conceded.
7 longshots (including 2 direct free kicks)
8 crosses to the back post
6 goals distributed amongst over the top goals, penalties, corners and general open play goals. 

That is an unnatural distribution of conceded goals, considering I've tried every trick I know to prevent both of these types of goals. This doesn't even account for the back post crosses that doesn't end up in goals. I simply cannot allow teams to control games against us if two thirds of the goals we concede are from back post crosses and longshots. If we willingly sit back that simply facilitates those types of situations. It is extremely frustrating to play this game when every match feels like a repeat of the previous; just waiting for the inevitable cross to the back post causing a goal. There is no variance. 6 goals across 11 games not from back post cross or long shot. It feels like I have no impact over how we concede goals or how we defend. It just... happens. 

 

9 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

I obviously don't mind playing for a draw. I mind the fact that I don't feel like I have any control over the type of goals we concede, because it feels almost scripted against me. We've drawn a single game so far, in 22 games - and not for a lack of trying. If I try to caution the play, and play for a draw, we concede a long shot or a cross to the back post. If I try to control the game, we concede a long shot or cross to the back post. 

As far as I know, there is no scripted event against the human player in this game and it never did. Anyone can correct me here ofc.

Long shots generally point to lower defensive lines without an aggressive setup with capable defenders, btw.

As for those back-post goals, how does their build-up start? Did you watch them carefully because only you can know what really happened there?

 

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17 minutes ago, frukox said:

As far as I know, there is no scripted event against the human player in this game and it never did. Anyone can correct me here ofc.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's scripted. It just feels that way, which in reality makes little difference. It's the lack of agency that causes the frustration, the feeling of powerlessless to prevent it. 

Quote

Long shots generally point to lower defensive lines without an aggressive setup with capable defenders, btw.

I've tried higher defensive line, much higher, more urgent pressing, tight marking. Makes no difference. Let me add that none of the players scoring these long shots are even good at it. The best one had 11 in long shots. 4 of them had 9 or lower. It just seems weird. 

Quote

As for those back-post goals, how does their build-up start? Did you watch them carefully because only you can know what really happened there?

No real pattern. The only consistency is that the ball ends up on the flank somehow, and is crossed onto the back post whic leads to a goal more often than not. Some are byline crosses, some are deep. It's overlaps, wingers going on solo efforts, striker going wide, long build ups that gradually end up on the wing or a crossed free kick from out wide. No repeating pattern. Granted, I scored lots of goals that way last season, to the point where I'm now considering it an exploit/flaw/weakness in the match engine. It seems like a way too effective tool. That is obviously influenced by the fact that I can't prevent it from happening no matter what I do, which could just be me being an idiot. If you're really curious, I'd be happy to send you the save file so you can watch it back. 

Edited by Christopher S
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